Selling meat online to city slickers
South Burnett farmer sells to customers across the state through E-commerce
E-COMMERCE is bringing South Burnett’s pork, lamb and beef direct to customers in south-east Queensland.
Kingaroy grazier Col Draper runs Grass to Grill, a website that sells certified organic meat.
“In a nutshell, we raise and fatten our own cattle and pigs and have them slaughtered and sell the meat direct,” Mr Draper said.
“We also sell local lamb but we buy the animals off another farmer.”
Most of Mr Draper’s business comes through social media marketing.
“About 90% of what we do is on Facebook, we do have a website but it’s more for show,” Mr Draper said.
“Facebook is by far the driver of business.”
Running a business through Facebook gives Mr Draper access to instant feedback from customers, easily tracked referrals and a detailed breakdown of customer demographics.
Grass to Grill has been in business for about four years though Mr Draper said it took a while for things to take off.
He had to jump through the necessary hoops to get accreditation for the delivery.
“Once you get the accreditation, it’s just up to your own business nous,” Mr Draper said.
Grass to Grill operates on a loose 6–8 week cycle.
When the cattle, lambs and pigs are ready for slaughter Mr Draper and his wife put out a call over Facebook for orders.
Customers have range of meat packs from which to select but, more or less, they have to buy anything from a quarter of beast up to a whole carcase worth of cuts.
Mr Draper then carts his animals to slaughter.
“We get it done at Brisbane Valley Meats at Esk. They’re only a small operator so they are able to customise their service to suit our needs,” he said.
When the meat is prepared and vacuum sealed, Mr Draper picks it up in a refrigerated truck and delivers it.
“We went that way because it’s easy to get accreditation for transport and it’s also a bit of vogue thing for people to be able to age meat in a cryovac,” he said.
“One of our customers won’t eat a steak unless it has aged five weeks.”
The business currently ships about 2.5 tonnes of meat every six to eight weeks.
“We usually sell about four for five cattle, four to six pigs and up to about 10 or a dozen sheep,” Mr Draper said.
The pigs are Wessex saddlebacks raised on Mr Draper’s home block, just south of Kingaroy.
His cattle are droughtmaster cows spread across a few leased paddocks.
“I play around with different bulls, at the moment they’re with a simmental,” Mr Draper said.
He has about 50 head including backgrounders.
“When we run out of meat, I’ve got a couple of mates that will sell to me and it’s good for some of the smaller blokes that only have a couple of head to get rid of,” he said.
From a marketing point of view Mr Draper puts equal weight on the fact that his herd is entirely grass-fed.
“I think it has a better taste and the cattle are usually there a bit older, up to 18 months to two years,” he said.
“It’s much more about traceability than diet.”
With the paddock-to-plate trend growing steadily, Mr Draper said he was getting more and more interest from further afield.
He is taking inquiries from as far away as Darwin.
Unfortunately, shipping and staff constraints mean it is just not economical to ship fresh meat that far.
MAIL ORDER: Col Draper has pigs, lambs and cattle butchered, then he sells the meat direct to customers via his website Grass to Grill.
Kingaroy grazier Col Draper sells grass-fed beef, lamb and pork online using his business Grass to Grill.
Grass to Grill sells meat online to customers.